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The BC Cafeteria

The Bluefield College Cafeteria staff love more than just food: they love laughter, and most of all, the students.

Jacqueline Puglisi

March 15, 2011

The cafeteria staff at Bluefield College loves to laugh. Often they can be found joking with the students and each other. It keeps them going through the day, and for many, laughing and talking with the students is the reason they enjoy their jobs.

 

The Valley Services team serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to over 250 students and faculty daily. After every meal they clean off tables, sweep and mop the floors and prepare for the next meal. The staff also caters an average of one to two meals per week in Shott Hall along with of their daily routine. On Sundays the cafeteria is open to the public for lunch and serves a large option of breakfast, lunch and dessert items to students and the community.

 

Cashier Terri Kirby is the first person students see when they come in for lunch. She has been with BC for four years and is quick to offer a smile to everyone who walks through the door. Her favorite part about her job is getting to interact with the students. She especially loves to joke with them.

 

"I love it," she said. "I love to pick on them."

 

Recently a new cook has joined the Valley team. Lou Saunders has been at BC for three weeks and is having fun at his new job. Prior to coming to BC he worked as a cook for 10 years at Bluefield Regional. When the medical center began to lay off employees, he found himself at BC. He is familiar with being around young people and also spends time coaching Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Basketball in the summer. Valley also offers meals and coffee to students at the Starbucks kiosk in the Student Activities Center (SAC).

 

Rebecca Hall, Supervisor of Starbucks, has worked at BC since 2005. She began working in the cafeteria, and was then asked to help with Starbucks. Now she does it all, dividing her time between helping in the cafeteria and serving students at the kiosk.

 

Jenny Phillips, Food Service Director at BC, has been working at the college for three years. Previously she worked at a hospice house in Beckley, W.Va. Though she is often in the back of the cafeteria away from the crowds she still gets to interact with the students and has found she has been able to get to know them a little more each year. She said she knows most of the senior class and she has enjoyed watching them grow over the years.

 

The cafeteria has recently suffered some equipment breakdowns. The ice machine stopped working for a little over a week, and the cafeteria staff bought bags of ice to accommodate students during meal times. On the day the ice machine was fixed the dish washer broke down that evening. The staff hand-washed every plate, cup and utensil from dinner. They then began to provide paper plates, cups and plastic utensils until the problem was fixed a week later.

 

Kerry Hatton, a senior at BC and dish washer in the cafeteria, said that not having to wash the usual amount of dishes made it a little bit easier. However he said there was still a lot to be washed by hand because of dishes and pans used to prepare the food. Phillips said the cause of the breakdown was not because the machines were old.

 

"People probably think it is the age of the equipment, but limescale is a big problem here," Phillips said. "You just have to learn to go with it and do whatever it takes to make it work."

 

Phillips also said that they are looking to renovate the cafeteria this summer with new tables, chairs and layout. Over spring break the cafeteria plans to put in new soda and juice machines.

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